Thursday, 22 March 2018

'Death of a Copycat'

Chapter 1.

Trudi couldn’t believe it!  She’s done it again! she thought as she listened to Marcia reading the opening of her new book.  Looking at the rest of the group as they sat around the table she wondered if anyone else recognized the story.  It seemed not, for when Marcia finished, carefully avoiding looking at Trudi, the other members of the writing circle proceeded to make their comments.  Some praised, some suggested.  And all agreed that it was a great idea for a book.
Yes, fumed Trudi, my idea, which I read out to you last month.
While everyone else around the table had their attention fixed on Marcia, Trudi slipped her file from under the legal pad and put it on her lap.  She then ‘vented’ on the pad in her own form of shorthand.
“You’re very quiet, Trudi,” Brenda, their middle-aged leader who had begun the circle a couple of years earlier, commented.  “Any comments?  I saw you making some notes.”
Nothing you’d like to hear, “Same as everyone else.  Good idea.”  And she caught sight of Marcia’s sly grin as the woman bent down to pick up her document case and slip the pages inside.

Outside in the car park and under the hot sun Trudi really got up a head of steam as she and her close friend, Lucia, headed for their cars.  “She really has a nerve!  That’s the second time she’s done it to me!”
Lucia looked puzzled.  “What?  Who?”
“Marcia.  Didn’t you recognize that opening chapter?”
“Well, yes, but she gave us the outline last month.”
“Do what?”  Trudi stopped in her tracks.
Lucia stopped and turned to look back at her English friend.  Light dawned.  “No she didn’t.  You did.”
“But how could she have gotten the idea?  She wasn’t here last month.  She was on a  cruise.  Or something,” Lucia recalled.
“Katherine?” Trudi queried, thinking of the mouse of the group who thought Marcia was the bee’s knees.
“Probably.  Did you say that’s the second time she’s pinched your idea?”
“Yup.  I wonder how many other people she’s stolen from?”
“No one has ever said anything.  At least, not to me they haven’t.”
“Lucia, I am so damned mad that if I hadn’t had such a job finding a good writer’s circle when I first came here, I would leave.”
“But, of course, you won’t,” Lucia grinned.  She knew all of the stories about her friend’s abortive attempts.  “Listen, hon, I’ve got to go and pick up the kids.  I’ll call you later.”
“Sure.  I’ll be home.  Either plotting a new book or how to get even with Marcia.”  So saying, Trudi moved across the aisle to her car and opened the door to let out the oven-baked July heat.  Thank goodness for efficient air conditioning she grimaced as she got in and switched on the engine before closing the door.
Driving towards her home in the west of the town, she was thinking about Marcia.  Something she hadn’t yet told Lucia was a conclusion she had reached the previous weekend.  Marcia had not only stolen two of her book ideas, but she had also been getting free information from Trudi and using it.

Available on: Kindle/Kobo/Smashwords (for other e-readers).

Friday, 16 March 2018

12 Hours in the life of a Children's Playground.

My flat overlooks a children's playground which during term time - and on fine days - seems to be divided into the four 'ages' of children.

In the morning it is for the babies and toddlers. Lovely to hear the chuckles as they are pushed on the swings or toddle around some of the other play items.

Early afternoon come the children who spend a couple of morning hours at play/nursery school - whatever the current name is. They are a little noisier but mostly laughing.

Then come the schoolchildren. Oh my! Especially the girls who shriek and scream fit to split one's eardrums. Amazingly many of the mothers with them don't seem to care. Are they deaf? Or just being un-neighbourly?

Need I mention the night-time teenagers who, in my humble opinion, ought to be at home and - during term time - in bed. Screaming, shouting, swearing, possibly drinking alcohol, smoking and taking drugs. And doing their best to wreck the swings.

Call Community Police? Tried that. 'If it is still going on in fifteen minutes time, give us another call.'
No comment

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

£172 a week to live on.

Just read that the UK Government has worked it out that single people aged 65+ need about £172 a week on which to live.


I just worked out my weekly expenses:

Rent: £155.76
Council Tax: £25.64
Electricity: £18.46 (approx).
Water: £8.21

Total: £209.07.

No food?

I suspect that the Government's calculations are based upon people who have paid off their mortgage. Unfortunately for many of us (particularly women) of 75+ we never had the chance to buy our own properties and so are still paying extortionate rents. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

University Debts

It never ceases to amaze me when I hear of the humungous debts of University education and the students/graduates taking a 'Gap' year.

Excuse me? Instead of trolling off travelling the world, how about earning money to pay off your debts?

Yes, I admit that I am of the generation which believes in 'if you can't afford it, go without', but I cannot help but feel that beginning one's adult life deep in debt isn't a good start.

Especially when I frequently meet people who have 'qualifications' (and debts) but cannot get a job. And when I meet graduates who are now working as wait staff or in a shop. Spending these years at university would probably have been better spent starting on the bottom rung of a ladder and working up to a more profitable job. Speaking of which, I have heard from prospective employers that some graduates don't seem to realise that, despite their qualifications, they still have to begin work near the bottom rung!

Apprenticeships are a good way to learn a trade.

I think these days too much emphasis is put on higher education. After all, you can only have a limited number of chiefs and you need a huge number of worker bees.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Still Waters by Judith Cutler - Review

Still Waters (Fran Harman, #3)Still Waters by Judith Cutler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the Fran Harmon books, it is filled with problems. Detective Chief Superintendent Harmer has to contend with a new DCC whom she once trained. Her partner ACC Mark Turner has a problem daughter. On top of which there mysterious deaths and disappearances. Beautifully written - a not-put-downable book.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Smashwords for e-readers

Several of my books are now available on a web site called Smashwords (the rest will eventually follow!).

From this website you can get copies of my books for Sony, Nook, Kindle, umpteen other e-readers.

I will do another post once I have all of the books on there.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The A-Z of Curious Sussex by Wendy Hughes

What a lot of research and travelling around Sussex (East and West) has gone into this fantastic book. As it says on the cover 'Strange Stories of Mysteries, Crimes and Eccentrics'.

Having lived in both East and West Sussex and visited many of the places mentioned I was amazed and delighted to learn more. For example, do you know where King Alfred is reputed to have burnt the cakes? I particularly enjoyed the love story of Dolly Shepherd, known at the Parachute Queen, who retired to Eastbourne.

Even though I lived in Lewes for some years I had never before heard the story of George, Prince of Wales, driving a coach and horse down a steep cobbled street.

Like most people I know about the D-Day Invasion and the Mulberry Harbours which were towed (in pieces) across the Channel. Two were made at various locations around the coast, the pieces eventually joined together on-site to create one 'harbour' for the British forces and the other for the American forces. The town of Pagham in West Sussex was the port from where they began the journey.

When in Shoreham you have to visit The Red Lion Inn. In the 18th century two men were drinking there and boasted about robbing the driver of the local mail. Also in the bar was the Brighton female soldier, Phoebe Hessel, who told the Constable and the two men were arrested. You'll have to buy the book find out what happened next....

I could probably go on for pages and pages but why don't you just buy the book and enjoy these wonderful tales of Sussex. It is available in book stores for £12.99.